Amid the Irma frenzy, something snuck up on Miami-Dade County residents: the 2017-18 county budget public hearings.
The first was supposed to happen on Sept. 7, but Irma disrupted that. It’s now happening Sept. 19 at 5 p.m. at the Stephen P. Clark Center at 111 NW 1st Street.
We’ve got the quick and dirty on the annual budget process below, but here’s the main thing to know: This meeting is your best chance to weigh in on the proposed $7.4 billion budget, which will affect everything from policing to parks, sustainability efforts to water and sewer updates. The Miami Herald has a solid rundown of the whole thing. You can find the official summary of the proposal here. If you want a more detailed breakdown, you can find that here.
Before Irma, the big talker was Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s proposal to cut about $25 million from the transit budget. Transit advocates have organized the #StopTransitCuts campaign to fight that decision, and they’ll be out in force at tomorrow’s meeting.
Irma has put a couple other issues on the agenda: disaster preparation, the resilience of our power grid and other city infrastructure, and equitable emergency response. If you’ve got thoughts on this, or pretty much anything else the county oversees, here’s where you should be tomorrow after work.
Also important for some of you: City of Miami’s first public budget hearing is also Sept. 19, at the same time, at Miami City Hall. (Can we talk to whoever chooses these dates?)
Here’s how the whole budgeting process works:
- All the county departments – who handle things like water and sewer, library services, elections and fire rescue services – submit business plans (aka requests for money to do their jobs for the next year)
- All those plans go to the Office of Management and Budget.
- In July the mayor presents the entire budget to the public, including his suggested property tax rate.
- Property taxes are set by the county commission.
- Taxpayers have their say on the budget via a public hearing. This year, that hearing is Sept. 19.
- If there are any changes, a memo goes out detailing all of them before the next and final public hearing, two weeks later (the exact date is TBD). More changes can be proposed at this point, too.
- The final budget is adopted by the mayor and board of county commission.
- On Oct. 1 the new budget officially goes into effect.